History is a beautiful thing. The internet is also a beautiful thing. Recently, we have spent some time researching into the dedication of the engine over in Highland Park (the SNY 116 or the M&B 116) and the amount of information we have found is truly incredible. Today's interested fact comes from a clipping from the Clarion-Ledger out of Jackson, Tennessee dated May 10th, 1953. The article reads:
"Casey Jones Whistle To Be Heard Again MERIDIAN. May 9 --
Coming Meridian observance of "National 11:11 Billy Music Day" took on gay romantic tones here. The locomotive which will pull the Memorial train to the roadside park, where the late Jimmie Rodgers and the city's deceased railroad men will be honored, will feature an exact replica of the whistle that carried Casey Jones to immortal fame. J. G. Hodges. veteran engineer of the Meridian and Bigbee Railroad, went to Jackson. Teen., to the home of Mrs. Jones and took first-hand measurements of the famous whistle. Later, he had one it is this one which will be installed. Southern Railway Officials said that the locomotive Wednesday got its first coat of paint, a brilliant green and gold, and will be In perfect shape. ' Train crew members are: engineer. Ralph Knight. Fireman. J. G. Hodges: conductors. Hubert Francis. C. Crews and J. E. Saunders; flagmen, Boyd McKelvain. W. W. Corn. W. T. Dennis and Jack N. Sanders, chairman of the J or Chamber of Commerce program, said that the thousands of visitors to the roadside park on the afternoon of May 28 will have plenty of hot dogs and cold drinks."
What an honor to know that a replica in honor of Mr. Casey Jones was made for the 116 to sound on the day of her dedication. The legacy of Casey Jones is a notable story to this very day in the railroad community. From the National Railway Museum (www.nationalrrmuseum.com)
"Now only two minutes behind schedule, Jones raced down the track towards Vaughn. As they approached, Sim Webb saw the red lanterns of the caboose at the end of the immobile train stuck on the tracks ahead and heard a loud popping sound as the torpedoes went off. Jone’s train was rushing down the slick tracks at 75 miles per hour; there would not be enough time to stop. “Oh, my Lord, there’s something on the mainline!” he yelled to Jones. Jones quickly yelled back, “Jump Sim, jump!” to Webb, who crouched down and jumped from the train, about 300 feet before impact, and was knocked unconscious by his fall. The last thing Webb heard as he jumped was the long, piercing scream of the whistle as Jones warned anyone still in the freight train looming ahead.
Jones reversed the throttle and slammed the air brakes into an emergency stop, but no. 382 quickly plowed through a wooden caboose, a carload of hay, another of corn, and halfway through a car of timber before leaving the track. He had reduced his speed from about 75 miles per hour to about 35 miles per hour when he hit. Because Jones stayed on board to slow the train, he was believed to have saved the passengers from serious injury and death. Jones was the only fatality of the collision. His watch stopped at the time of impact, 3:52 am on April 30, 1900. Popular legend holds that when his body was pulled from the wreckage, his hands still clutched the whistle cord and brake.
In the aftermath, Jones became a legend who unselfishly gave his life so that everyone on his train would live. Casey Jones’s body was sent back to Jackson, Tennessee. A funeral mass was held on May 1, 1900, at St. Mary’s Church, where, fourteen years earlier, Casey had married Janie Brady. He is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery. Hundreds of railroad men came from all around to attend the funeral and pay their last respects."
Wouldn't you have loved to have been a spectator to hear the whistle of Casey Jones?